Diary Of A Digital Addict

Right now, I’m sitting cozy in the pharmacy drive thru… don’t worry I’m just the passenger.  There’s no surprise that I’m spending this time waiting on my phone. The phone is my time filler for just about everything. As a matter of fact, I really can’t think of many times during the day when I’m without my phone. Of course the shower is the exception and even then it is not far away — streaming my favorite songs on Slacker or Apple Music.

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So to this week’s blog topic.. my technology problem.. well not problem… but slight addiction. I’ve known that it existed — it’s not like I’ve been in denial. It’s just that last week I really got a look at just how much of an impact it has on my life. We had a class assignment track our technology use for 24 hours in a digital diary.  This week’s assignment– blog about it, so here I go!

If I’m being honest– I probably chose the worst day to do my tracking assignment–Saturday into Sunday. When it was all said and done I totaled about 8 hours of technology use which seemed pretty low to me– and for good reason. After listening to my classmates describe how they tracked their usage,  I realized I wasn’t exactly doing a good job keeping track of my own.

I listen to music ALL the time! My diary doesn’t reflect the time spent in the car that weekend streaming and singing to the top of my lungs.  The radio is everything to me. During times when I need to clear my head— I often hop in my car, turn the music up loud and drive.

Being someone who has worked in television the last 11+ years– you would think that I would be all about TV, not so much. There are a few gotta watch shows that I record and catch up on later– but I’m not just spending hours watching television. Now, times like right now the TV is often just playing in the background as I work. Looking back to last week–that’s another thing that isn’t exactly reflected in my diary. I guess I’m just so use to having it on, I wasn’t really thinking it needed to be counted– but I was wrong.

Going back to the beginning — yes–I LOVE my smartphone. The majority of my diary time was well spent (in my opinion) on my phone.  I start and end almost every day on my phone. The first thing I do when I wake up, check my phone for missed calls, texts and emails. That’s followed by a sweep of my social media accounts. I always start with Twitter to see what’s making headlines in both local and national news. My day ultimately always ends reading from my Bible app.

Am I really a technology addict, probably. Do I have any plans of changing my habits– NOPE! If I get to a point when it does more harm than good– I’m confident I can back away. For now, I’m going to keep on posting my daily moves on social media— while listening to the radio— with some random TV show playing in the background!

Social Media: I Just Can’t Get Enough

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Social Media– a term that we use all the time– but do you really even know what it’s all about? Sure Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are some of the biggest known social media platforms, but what is social media? Let me help you out here. Social Media sites allow users to engage with each other by creating content and comments all while interacting with one another. The book definition is a little more technical– but you get where I’m going.

So, why all the interest in social media you ask? Well it’s this week’s assignment. The task, talk about why social media is so appealing. I’m pretty much at the height of my social media game! Well not really, but I use it enough to have a few ideas– so let’s get started.

Top Reasons Social Media Sizzles: 

  • Gives a voice to the voiceless. For people who don’t have a platform where they can be heard, they can find their audience on social media. Now on the flip side it also gives a voice to the trolls. So it’s a gift and a curse depending on who you are.
  • Staying connected made easy. If you really want to stay in touch with someone, problem solved. I’ve met some great people while on vacation who I’ve linked up with on Facebook and I love following what they have going on in their lives.
  • Keeps us informed! There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wake up and instantly check my social media platforms. I check my Twitter feed first to see what’s happened in the world. Gone are the days of me instantly getting up and flipping on the television.
  • Creates career/business opportunities. There are so many people who have been discovered on social media– Justin Bieber started on Youtube. There are so many businesses that started as a Facebook page and have since expanded due to the social media site.
  • Makes life so much easier. If there is really something you want to know about or how to do something,  we’re turning to social media. There are endless “how to” videos on Youtube. Pinterest is another site that people turn to when they’re in need of a little event planning/decorating. Sites like LinkedIn even make it easier for you to land that next great job.

While many social media sites have come and gone what sets the survivors apart is the ability to evolve. Think about how much a site like Facebook has changed since it launched. I can remember when the site was only open to college students, now anyone can go on. Remember when you could only post pictures? Now you can broadcast an event live from the social media platform. The same thing is true with Youtube, Instagram and Twitter. These sites are constantly changing to stay relevant. The reality is, you either keep up with the times or find yourself left behind.

The Internet: It Just Keeps Getting Better!

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Oh, look how far we’ve come since the early 90s when we all got our first taste of the internet. It was cool right?

My first memories of surfing the web take me back to 1996. I remember coming home from school and there it was… our very own family computer. Yup mom had gone out and gotten us a Compaq, printer and a nice new desk for us to set it all up on.  Of course it wasn’t my first time on a computer. I can remember the old Macintosh that we use to fight over at Union Hill Elementary School. Those were the days, going to the computer lab and getting to play Oregon Trail. Back to that magical day, we were excited about the computer– but what made it even more exciting was our first AOL disk, remember those? The good ol’ days of dial up. Waiting to see if you’re going to get through, or if the line was going to be busy.

While I did use the internet for “fun” like hanging in chat rooms and downloading music, I also can remember using it to help me finish a project or two. Today, using the internet to help complete an assignment is not optional– it’s the only option. I mean sure you can go to a library and check out a book or two, but it doesn’t even compare to the experience of surfing the web.

Now that I’ve set the stage.. let’s jump into this week’s assignment an article written by Clifford Stoll titled “Why The Web Won’t Be Nirvana.” —While reading the article today that was written in 1995, I had to laugh at some of the points Mr. Stoll tried to make. So, I want to highlight a few places where he kind of got everything all wrong.

Let’s start with this statement ” The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.” This could not be far from the truth. When we look back on last week’s assignment of digital convergence we see how the internet has replaced the daily newspaper and our daily news. In an article published in June, the Pew Center reported that newspaper circulation is down 11% from 2016 to 2017. While that’s not all attributed to papers going digital there’s no doubt it’s having an impact.

Back in ’95, Stoll talked about computers being pushed into schools like it was a bad thing. Stoll writes, “who needs teachers when you’ve got computer-aided education? Bah. These expensive toys are difficult to use in classrooms and require extensive teacher training.” Funny!! There are students right now who are teaching their teachers how to do things on the computer. I would argue that the use of computers has not only been extremely beneficial, it’s also made learning so much more enjoyable for students.

As I read through the article, another point that Stoll failed to make was how the internet was going to ruin human contact. Sure, phone calls have been replaced with emails and text messages. In person meetings have been replaced with online meeting spaces, but boy being connected to each other has never been so easy.  Perfect example, the use of social media sites. Think about it, before sites like Facebook came around after the high school or college graduations you were completely disconnected from those you went to school with. I mean of course there were school reunions- but you’d have to wait a decade to be reunited. Thanks to the internet you never have to lose touch. When I look at my friends list right now on Facebook, it reflects all different years of my life. There are the friends who I grew up with riding bikes in Lawndale and people who I’ve met along the way at places like the NABJ Convention.

Looking at all the ways we all use the web every day, it’s clear that Stoll was really off base, but maybe you disagree.

Read the article for yourself and let me know what you think in my comments!


Digital Convergence Makes the World Go Round!

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Sitting in my living room, watching the final season of The Crown on Netflix and I can’t think of a better setting to start this blog.

This week’s assignment, discuss the impact of digital convergence on my life. To do that I’ll go back to where I started, with Netflix.

Netflix is an online streaming service. When we think back to streaming a few years ago, it was something we were only able to do through a computer, tablet or our phones. Digital convergence is allowing me to sit in my living room and stream The Crown or any other show from Netflix on my television.

In my professional life, digital convergence has had such a BIG impact in the industry that I work in. We use to have to wait and get our news every day at 5PM, gone are those days. We now have access to information all day long on digital and social media platforms. Gone are the days of people waiting for their morning paper (well some might still do it). You can now catch up on the news of the day from your local paper right on your computer or smartphone.

As I was about to wrap this up, I thought of one more great example of digital convergence— internet radio. No more sitting by the radio to hear your favorite songs. Remember when you would wait to hear the request line phone number….hoping to get through to get your song played? Now thanks to internet radio stations and the streaming of your favorite on air stations you can hear your favorites at any time. Being a music lover— this is AMAZING! I start each day with Slacker Radio or Apple Music.

I could go on and on about convergence.. but I think it’s pretty clear how it’s made my life A LOT easier and enjoyable.